Ligurian Savoy Cabbage Pie

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Makes one 10- or 11 inch 25- or 28 cm ) tart,

    8 to 10

    servings

Appears in

If cabbage pie doesn’t sound appealing, remember that cabbage is one of those vegetables that easily absorbs the flavors of the other ingredients cooked with it, adding it to its already sweet and earthy taste. The model of this pie is one I tasted many years ago in Ventimiglia, the first town over the French border on the Mediterranean coast in Italy. I remember tasting it for the first time and loving it, but I couldn’t figure out what the filling was made from. I asked Mme Frolla, my chefs wife. She said, “Eet’s da shoo [cabbage in French is chou], darrrrrling, like da choucroute [sauerkraut in French].” Well at first I thought she meant it was sauerkraut, but then I realized it was cabbage. There is a strong tradition of making pies like this one from greens and vegetables of all kinds in Liguria, the Italian region that includes the Riviera area we were visiting. Savoy cabbage is the first choice for this, but plain green cabbage can be just as good, as long as you cook it slowly to develop its full sweetness.

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Ingredients

  • 1 batch of Olive-Oil Dough for a double-crust pie
  • 1 medium head (3 pounds/1.36 kg) Savoy cabbage
  • boiling salted water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium (about 8 ounces/225 grams) white onion, halved, and thinly sliced from root to stem end
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated on a Microplane
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces (350 grams/about cups) whole-milk ricotta
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • One 10- or 11-inch (25- or 28-cm) fluted tart pan with removable bottom

Method

  1. Roll half the dough and line the tart pan, as in the instructions. Roll the remaining dough into a disk about 1 inch ( cm) larger in diameter than your tart pan. Slide it onto a floured cookie sheet, cover it with plastic wrap, and set it aside while preparing the filling.
  2. Halve and core the cabbage. Pull off the outer leaves and cut away any thick ribs. Separate the remaining cabbage into leaves. Add the cabbage to the boiling salted water and return to a boil. Cook at a steady boil for about minutes. Drain and cool the cabbage. When it is cool enough to handle, stack piles of leaves on a cutting board and shred them about ¼ inch (6 mm) wide.
  3. Combine the oil, onion, and garlic in a wide sauté pan. Place over medium heat and cook until the onion starts to sizzle. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the onion and garlic are translucent and wilted, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cabbage. Increase the heat to high and cook until the oil starts to sizzle again. Reduce the heat to low and cook the cabbage, stirring occasionally, until it is wilted and reduced in volume, about 20 minutes. Pour the cabbage into a bowl and season it with salt and pepper. It should be slightly overseasoned to make up for the addition of the ricotta and eggs.
  4. While the cabbage is cooking, set a rack in the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 375°F (190°C).
  5. One at a time, add the ricotta, eggs, parsley, and Parmigiano-Reggiano into the cabbage, stirring after each addition until smooth.
  6. Scrape the filling into the prepared bottom crust and smooth the top. Slide the top crust over the filling and sever the edge of the top crust, pressing it firmly into the edge of the bottom crust with a fingertip protected by a folded towel. Use the point of a knife to cut several vent holes in the top crust.
  7. Bake the pie until the crust is deep golden and the filling is set, about 30 minutes. Cool the pie on a rack.

Serving

Serve the pie at room temperature as part of an assortment of antipasti, or as an hors d’oeuvre with drinks.

Storage

It’s best to serve the pie on the day it is baked, but if you have to prepare it a day in advance, wrap and refrigerate it. Reheat the pie at 350°F (180°C) for about 20 minutes, cool, and serve. Wrap and refrigerate leftovers and bring them to room temperature before serving again.

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